Hollywood would probably throw this script away.
A young woman from a small town in Minnesota, graduates from high school with nothing but her ancient Oldsmobile and moves to Florida. She takes a job at a Subway restaurant before eventually working her way up the ranks of professional wrestling and appearing on television. During her time in organizations like the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), she would visit 49 states and 13 countries, competing, performing and winning titles under names like Miss Madness, Starla Saxton and Molly Holly.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call us, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll call you.
Holly, er, Nora Greenwald did all of this before she was 30-years-old.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just an amazing opportunity that most people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald says.
On the weekend of September 7, Greenwald, a 1996 graduate of Forest Lake High School will celebrate her 30th birthday with a party, and then she and her former co-worker Billy Kidman will take part in Linwood Family Fun Day on Saturday, Sept. 8.
From 4-5 p.m., Greenwald and Kidman will be signing autographs and selling various collectibles and paraphernalia, like 8×10 photographs and GreenwaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s autobiographical DVD.
Greenwald grew up in Linwood Township and shares how when she was 12-years-old, the football coach forgot to turn off the lights at the field. Word passed around the neighborhood kids to sneak out and meet on the field for a midnight game under the yellow glow of electricity. She said they ran around and acted like they were in the National Football League until 2 a.m., Ã¢â‚¬Å“having the time of our lives.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And it was just one of my favorite memories,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald says.
How it all began
Even though her wrestling career paid well and gave Greenwald the opportunity to travel like Angelina Jolie, she says her days at Subway were incredibly happy ones. Seriously. All while she was making minimum wage, had a whopping $3 for her daily food budget and washed her clothes in her sink.
A co-worker attended a pro wrestling school and invited Greenwald to tag along. Greenwald didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know women actually competed, and the make-shift ring in the backyard of a trailer park wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exactly screaming, This way to Show Business.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But what I liked about it was there was such a diverse group of characters,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald says.
From Ã¢â‚¬Å“metal heads,Ã¢â‚¬Â to a former police officer to transvestites, she was drawn to their shared obsession.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I personally didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a passion for pro wrestling, but it was really fun being around these people; they were just a really positive, fun group,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So I started hanging around because it would be a new hobby and (I could) make some new friends.Ã¢â‚¬Â
After making numerous contacts with people in The Know, Greenwald had a few tryouts and from there she began to cruise up the different levels of World Professional Wrestling Federation, WCW and WWF/WWE.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Behind the scenes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very professional,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very structured backstage.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Script writers would give the wrestlers their lines, their skits and their characters. From the catering to commercial breaks, the whole scene is planned and organized.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the ring, you know, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re putting each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lives in your hands, so youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re really focused on entertaining the fans and also protecting your opponent from serious injury,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
By 2005, Greenwald was getting out of the pro wrestling circuit for reasons she has kept private. Well, kinda.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I reveal them on my DVD, which people can purchase at Linwood Family Fun Day,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says with a laugh.
Nowadays, the woman who used to be featured in pay-per-view events and Wrestlemania, works in White Bear Lake at Minnesota Teen Challenge Ã¢â‚¬â€ a one-year residential drug and alcohol treatment program.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I could see it as a long-term career, definitely,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald says.
And why not? The troubles faced by professional wrestlers have been well documented, with Chris BenoitÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s murder-suicide being the latest tragedy to grab headlines. Greenwald shares that sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s had more than 10 friends and co-workers die from drugs, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what drew her to the program.
A small chance remains that Greenwald will get back in the ring, but these days she doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the desire. Instead, she enjoys going to minor league wrestling shows where she might referee or sign autographs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still really fun to be around people who are excited about their dreams,Ã¢â‚¬Â Greenwald says.
And there we have the happy ending…
Linwood Family Fun Day is Saturday, Sept. 8, and runs from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Source: Glen Strandberg/Forest Lake Times